Vulnerability and Priesthood Blessings

I realized I was having a hard time when I drove past a McDonalds and started crying. I was having difficulties with a friend, and McDonalds reminded me of all the great times we had eating gross food together. One night he wasn’t feeling well and had asked me to come by and give him a blessing. No one had ever asked me to give them a blessing before. Never once in my short time being a Melchizedek priesthood holder had I exercised that gift before. Sadly, I was not in a place at the time to give one, so I offered him some Mickey-Ds instead.

Having to tell someone no was a point of vulnerability and of shame. It was difficult and embarrassing to do. As I was driving by that same McDonalds, I thought about that friend, our most recent tiff, and how terrible I had felt that night. As tears crawled their way down my face, I realized I needed some heavenly help.

I felt like I should ask for a blessing, but the idea was immediately sent packing by other thoughts of anxiety.

“They will think you’re needy.”

“They will think you have lots of problems or trials.”

“They will know what your struggles are and will judge you.”

“You got a blessing a few months ago, wasn’t that enough?”

“You haven’t done any better since the last one, asking for another means you don’t have faith.”

All of these thoughts swirled around in my head as I drove home blurry eyed. As the vulnerability subsided, I had the courage to ask a ward member if he was available. He happened to be in my apt doing homework and he willing gave me a blessing, no questions asked.

The shame I felt asking for a priesthood blessing is something I can’t understand. What about it makes most people shrink or rethink their need of one?

It’s very obvious that any anxiety attached to asking for or receiving a priesthood blessing comes from Satan. The heart of that fear of course is our fear of vulnerability. Being seen as weak, or different, or alone. Somehow asking for a blessing singles us out or severs normal connections we have with others.

When someone is in a position to ask for a blessing, they are typically weak in some capacity. Whether that be emotionally, spiritually, physically, or even just indecisive, that weakness is understood as vulnerability. We fear calling our home teachers, or friends, for fear of being judged. That our human weakness makes us undesirable, or needy in some way.

I one time felt prompted to ask my home teachers for a blessing even thought I didn’t know them at all. It was more scary showing my vulnerability to strangers and asking for help than it would have been to just endure what life was throwing at that time.

So if we are afraid to be weak in front of others, how can we latch onto the gift of the priesthood? How can we ask for special blessings with shame separating blessings from their intended targets? The answer is obvious: Embrace Vulnerability.

Every man worthy to offer a blessing has been humbled at one time or another. Every man worthy to bless you has faced difficulties and trials. Every worthy man was had to become worthy through the atonement of Jesus Christ. These things mean he and his companions have all felt the trepidation of vulnerability. They know first hand the anxiety of being seen as weak because they have faced it too.

Because of this we need to act, resolutely, to never shy away from asking for a blessing when we need one. I cannot count the number of times I have desired a blessing only to shake the idea away as being annoying or needy. Heavenly Father looks for opportunities to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings, but he can’t do that when we think home teachers are too stressed over finals to be called up.

My hope for you, and for myself really, is to never fear asking for blessings. If you’re afraid, put yourself on the line and reap the blessings of that faith.

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